CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Harrison County Prosecutor Joe Shaffer said Friday on MetroNews Talkline that he struggled with a tragic case he prosecuted this week. The case involved Tina Owens, 57, of Jarvisville. She accidentally shot and killed her grandson as he lay in his bed at his home near her home.

“Mrs. Owens was basically just firing willy-nilly into the dark,” Shaffer said.

Owens opened fire the night of June 30 after hearing what she thought was an intruder on her property. The bullet penetrated the wall of her son’s home nearby and struck her 11-year-old grandson as he lay in his bed.

She pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced Thursday to one year probation.

“I felt we needed to present it to the grand jury for two reasons,” Shaffer said. “Number one so she would be held accountable and number two to raise the awareness of the issue of gun ownership and responsibility.”

Shaffer described himself during the Talkline appearance as “a gun guy”. He said he believes in the right for everybody to own a gun to defend themselves in their home. However, he believes this case highlights the need to do something to emphasize the need to be able to safely use a firearm.

“Anybody whose going to have a gun in their home,” said Shaffer. “Taking a class, getting trained on how to use it, getting trained on the responsibilities of how to use it so hopefully we can prevent something like this from happening in the future.”

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Comments

  • LEE ARTHUR

    She needs a long jail stay.

  • scott

    or having the common freaking sense to not point it at a house and fire it...i find this level of stupidity hard to fathom.

    That someone this stupid has a firearm, even more so.

    How many millions more like her are currently exercizing their second amendment rights!!!!!

    I feel safer already!!!!

  • Jima.

    The key word in all this is the word "intent "-There can be no crime without it. This woman plea bargained. I would say that if she put it in front of a jury she would of walked. Blacks Law Dictionary will explain this to you. Except for one or two of you none of you know what the heck your talking about....case closed and your dismissed!@

    • Kelly

      Spoken like a true scumbag attorney.

      • Jason412

        I want to know if this lady was drug screened anytime after the fact.

        Seems to me she almost had to be high on meth. Or maybe mentally ill. Either way she shouldnt own a gun. Either of those would prohibit her by law, and would of made her charges a lot more serious.

        Part of her plea should of prohibited her from having any firearms in her house in the future.

        On involuntary manslaughter you can do up to a year in jail. So even if she wasnt a tweaker this was still a huge miscarriage of justice.

    • WVIRGINIAN FOR LIFE

      Again, I expect the same sentencing results when the next neighbor fires "willy nilly" and kills the neighbor next door. It doesn't matter that it was her grandson. She broke the law, somebody dies and she got a slap on the wrist if you can even call it that. So again, this better be the sentence issued from this point forward. Period!!

  • Shadow

    It is amazing she didn't know the house was there! How long had she been there? She needs to do some time, it might help to fix stupid.

  • Mr Bullsnip

    BAC

    I think you are missing the point, she walked out of her house, fired a gun randomly, killed her grandson. Now she has commited murder and gets a free pass. Does not matter that it was her grandson or stranger she should be punished. If not then anyone can walk out of their house shoot somebody and say " I heard a noise" and they are off scott-free. Cause whats good for the goose is good for the gander

    • BAC

      If you think a jury would have convicted her of murder, you are naïve. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt. No intent could be proven. Prosecutor would have been wasting everyone's time to have taken it to a jury.

      • WVIRGINIAN FOR LIFE

        Bullcrap, severe negligence was present. Any prosecutor fresh out of law school could have won this case and secured a proper punishment. End of story.

  • BAC

    The commenters here miss the point. The shooting was not intentional--the prosecutor could logically and legally refrained even from presenting it to a grand jury. That he did what he did is commendable. She is now a convicted felon and will have to live with that for the rest of her life. Putting her in prison would not have brought the grandson back. Tragic situation, but prosecutor appears to have done the correct thing.

    • Fairport

      So all I have to do is just take my pistol outside and fire into the dark and if I kill someone, you say I didn't break a law! Give me a break!

    • leroy j gibbs

      Involuntary manslaughter is a misdemeanor.not a felony

  • knows

    Its surely tragic but all the classes and training in the world can't fix stupid. This is similar to southern wv case couple yrs ago.....guy was drilling a hole through the wall for tv cable and bit was too short so he was going to finish the job by shooting it out.... Bullet went thru wall and killed his son...CAN'T FIX STUPID although i do feel damn sorry for both of them

  • griuff

    the harrison co prosecutor, judge & jury should be ashamed. hope every night when they lay down they see that boy's face

  • jag

    one year probation for murder. this is absolutely a huge insult to the justice system. If I ever want to kill somebody I will make sure I go to Harrison co. what a joke. bet she still has guns in her house. wonder who she will shoot next time

  • Fairport

    This has only one component, a stupid lady firing her gun at random. It doesn't matter who she killed she should be punished to the fullest extent of the law for killing someone. The criminal element is not missing just because it was her grandson. Mourning a death is not a criminal punishment!

    • WVIRGINIAN FOR LIFE

      Well said. End of story.